Press Release

IACHR Condemns Death of Wilmar Villar in Cuba

January 23, 2012

Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regrets and condemns the death of Cuban dissident Wilmar Villar, who died after a hunger strike. The IACHR expresses its condolences and solidarity with his next of kin.

According to information received, Wilmar Villar was a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba), an opposition group in Cuba. On November 24, 2010, he was condemned to prison by a Cuban tribunal that found him guilty of “libel, resistance and assault.” It was informed that Wilmar Villar started a hunger strike in protest against the process and the sentence, which he called “unfair.”

On February 26, 2010, the IACHR regretted and condemned the death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died of starvation after 85 days on a hunger strike. He had been detained in March 2003 and sentenced to prison in a trial held behind closed doors, which lasted no longer than a day.

The Commission reiterates that restrictions to political rights and to freedom of expression and the dissemination of thought; the lack of elections; and the lack of independence of the judiciary create a permanent situation in Cuba in which the fundamental rights of its citizens are violated. The Commission once again urges the State to carry out the reforms that are necessary in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


  • No. 007/12